A Árvore / The Tree
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."
- William Blake
(Essay begun December 29, 2004)
There is an old cottonwood tree down by the creek on my Aunt and Uncle’s property near Yreka that intrigues me. That tree is pretty old, it has seen a lot of history of the family on the property where the folks on my mother’s side of the family homesteaded and ran a ranch for many years.
I have been hanging around that tree since I was a kid, there is a little ripple in the creek that we used to dam-up as kids and make the creek backup as far as we could.
I would go there as I made exploration of the hill beyond as when I was younger jumping the creek, especially in the spring was a dangerous endeavor… though now I can easy hop across it, there near the tree.
Up the hill is the old Ditch, constructed during the gold rush, I once found a piece of pottery that looked like a piece of blue willow that must have washed down it from above a hundred or so years before.
I used to like to hike up the hill below the ditch and sit up in pines and look down on the world below. Sometimes, I could sit, and if things were quiet enough, I could hear people call to each other, or a dog bark. My Grandmother would ring the old school bell, to call the kids in for lunch or dinner.
Before setting out, folks would make sure I knew that there were snakes. I never saw one, but to be sure I used to make a lot of noise so they wouldn't be too surprised.
There were always a small herd of cows or mules roaming around and of course the deer. There was always a love-hate relationship with deer in our part of the world. Personally, they are next of kin with rats, who eat anything of use or beauty in your yard. Up on the hill, you could run into one, which was ok. But running into one late at night when your grandmother sends you out to turn off the sprinkler... is well nothing short of a heart stopper.
Across the creek, below the tree line are the remnants of a spring, I think a great uncle tried to dig it out with a backhoe before I was born. In the spring there are carpets of little purple violets there…
Copyright 2011 by Daniel C. Orey
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